‘No one likes the turf’ – The Denver Post


When he was in college, J.K. Dobbins regularly played on turf fields, and did so without incident. He never missed a game over his three seasons at Ohio State.

But now that Dobbins is in the NFL, and now that he’s recovered from a significant knee injury, the Ravens running back is a little more wary of fields like MetLife Stadium’s. The Ravens lost cornerback Kyle Fuller (knee) and left tackle Ja’Wuan James (Achilles tendon) to season-ending injuries in their Week 1 win over the host New York Jets. On Sunday, they’ll return to East Rutherford, New Jersey, to face the New York Giants — and their synthetic turf.

“No one likes the turf,” Dobbins, who’s never played at MetLife Stadium, said Thursday. “As the older guys would say, like, ‘Man, it hurts my body.’ Maybe that’s true. Maybe I’ll start feeling that as I continue on in my career. But it is terrible.”

Dobbins missed all of last season after tearing the ACL, LCL and meniscus in his left knee last year, along with his hamstring. He returned to action in Week 3, and has 28 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown in three games.

Ravens coaches have monitored Dobbins’ workload during practices and games, but players say the turf presents its own challenges. Coach John Harbaugh declined to comment on the Giants’ playing field this week, but he said after Week 1 that “the turf doesn’t usually give as much as grass.”

Dobbins pointed to Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who tore his ACL in Week 3 on a noncontact, innocuous-looking jog. In the days after the game, Giants running back Saquon Barkley piled on, saying he wasn’t “really a fan of turf.”

“They’ve got to do something about that,” Dobbins said Thursday.

M&T Bank Stadium and the Ravens’ outdoor practice fields both have grass playing surfaces, and Harbaugh last month credited the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns for avoiding synthetic fields.

“I just feel like everybody in this league should do everything they can to put the best surface out there,” he said last month. “How much is invested in the players who go out there and play, and our league really is a player driven league, and we want those guys to have the best of the best, especially surfaces to play on.”

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, who saw several teammates suffer injuries on turf fields at MetLife Stadium and the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium, also called for consistent playing surfaces across the league.

“The thing that just confuses me is if you’re not going to mandate grass, then why aren’t turf fields the exact same turf so guys get used to playing on the same turf everywhere? But every field has a different turf,” Kittle told local reporters earlier this week. “I just wish we played on a surface that was similar every single week in, week out so your body won’t just be dealing with different, crappy turf.”



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